How to knit the Horseshoe Cable Stitch

A step-by-step tutorial on knitting a beautiful stitch often called double cable, horseshoe cable, or wishbone cable.

The true beauty about cable stitches is that they look oh so complicated but most of them are quite easy to knit. If you are wondering how to knit a horseshoe cable, then you came to the right place.

A swatch in the wishbone cable stitch

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you this easy 6-row repeat which creates a beautiful (but sadly not reversible) pattern. It’s often used for Aran sweaters but will look great on almost all other garments (like hats, etc) as well.

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It is also called “Wishbone Cable” because it looks a bit like a lot of wishbones strung on a chain. The alternate name “Double Cable stitch” derives from the fact that you are actually knitting two 3×3 cables next to each other. So quite similar to the Honeycomb cable, but you always cross the cables in the same direction.

Tip: Here’s a lovely practice pattern for a mug cozy that makes use of this stitch. My cable socks also feature it.


Cast on 18 stitches.

  • Row 1: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 2: k3, p12, k3
  • Row 3: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 4: k3, p12, k3
  • Row 5: p3, C6B, C6F, p3
  • Row 6: k3, p12, k3

C6B = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back
C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front

You can exchange the cable cross stitches in row 5 as “p3, C6F, C6B, p3” if you want the Horseshoe cables to point towards the bottom of your project (so, upside down).

If you want to knit it in the round the repeat would go like this:

  • Row 1: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 2: p3, p12, p3
  • Row 3: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 4: p3, p12, p3
  • Row 5: p3, C6B, C6F, p3
  • Row 6: p3, p12, p3

Attention: In either case, you would have to adjust the repeat slightly if you want to string together multiple horseshoe cables next to each other – especially when knitting in the round.

Then row 5 should read like this: *p3, C6B, C6F*

a close-up of a swatch knitted in horseshoe cable stitch with 3 purl selvedge

You can space out the cable crosses even further or bunch them together with only 2 rows in between for a more condensed look.

Be aware that you are free to adjust the purl stitches around the cables freely. I added 3 purl stitches to either side but you can cut them down completely or even add more purl stitches. It’s really up to you!

the reverse side of the horseshoe cable stitch
The wrong side of a Horseshoe Cable

Small double cable

Small double cable knit in both directions.
Two small double cables next to each other (the left one is upside down).

Naturally, you can also knit the classic double cable by combining two 2×2 cables. In this case, the repeat would look like this:

  • Row 1: p3, k8, p3
  • Row 2: k3, p8, k3
  • Row 3: p3, C4B, C4F, p3
  • Row 4: k3, p8, k3
  • Row 5: p3, k8, p3 (optional)
  • Row 6: k3, p8, k3 (optional)

As the cables are a bit smaller, I personally feel that 3 or 5 in between rows are enough but feel free to adjust this smaller version of the classic horseshoe cable according to your own preferences.

And again, if you exchange row 3 for “p3, C4F, C4B” you can knit the small double cable upside down.

That’s how you knit the HorseShoe Cable Stitch. Feel free to comment with your questions and I’m sure we’ll find a solution together!

How to knit the horseshoe cable stitch pattern
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13 thoughts on “How to knit the Horseshoe Cable Stitch”

  1. You say:
    “C6B = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back
    C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back”

    Don’t you mean
    C6B = slip 6 stitches to cable needle and hold in back AND
    C6F = slip 6 stitches to cable needle and hold in front

    6 stitches instead of the 3
    “front” on the C6F

    • Hey Julien,

      why would you think that? If you were to slip 6 stitches to the CN, you’d get a veeeerrry big cable. Slipping 3 stitches is right.

      So, it’s a 6 stitch cable (hence the name) where you cross in the back. C6B


  2. Hello, thank you for such a wonderful tutorial. Could you tell me the brand of yarn that you used for the purple horseshoe cable?

  3. C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back”
    The above is the same explanation given for C6B.
    Should the explanation be “C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in FRONT”?

    It did take me a bit to understand that the C6 was for the complete cable stitch: 3 stitches slid onto the cable needle/holder and 3 left on the regular needle.

    Your site & YouTube channels are where I look first when I’m trying something new. Thank you for being clear & concise.

    All the best to you.

  4. Thanks for this helpful tutorial! I have subscribed on Patreon.

    One small typo, for the repeat of the 2×2 cables you give Row 2 as K3 P12 K3 – obviously a cut-and-paste error from the first set of instructions (should be K3 P8 K3).

  5. I’ve knitted a jumper with the horseshoe cable, after finishing it I realised I’d missed a pattern. Can you advise please?


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